Hobart Hurricanes 5 for 183 (Short 96, Doolan 29) beat Adelaide Strikers 6 for 176 (Ingram 66, Head 44, Archer 3-15) by seven runs
Short set the game up with a sublime 96 from just 58 deliveries, becoming the first player in BBL history to make consecutive 90s. It helped the Hurricanes to a formidable score of 5 for 183.
Attention, though, soon switched to Archer as the BBL’s Twitter feed dubbed him the tournament’s “new cult hero.” His nerveless final over ensured a painful night for Jason Gillespie, Adelaide Strikers’ coach, who is about to join forces with Archer at Sussex next season. And that pain might intensify for Gillespie should Archer’s fast-rising reputation win an IPL deal and ensure he misses the start of the English Championship season.
On a placid surface, with one short boundary to target, the Strikers took the game to the last over. Having lost two early wickets, Colin Ingram and Travis Head set the game alight with a rollicking 102-run stand in just 64 balls. Archer and Short teamed up for a brilliant catch on the midwicket boundary to remove Ingram, and then with 13 runs to defend in the final over, Archer executed nearly every ball to perfection to hand the Strikers their first loss of the season.
Bucking the trend
The chasing side has won the last five matches at the Blundstone Arena, so there were some sideways glances after George Bailey won the toss and elected to bat. But he wanted to put the Strikers in an uncomfortable position. The Strikers have preferred to bat first and defend. It has yielded three wins this season. Hobart won their last match while defending a target. The opening pair set a solid platform.
In six matches together, including two practice matches, Short and Doolan have put together five 50-plus opening stands. On Thursday, they were aggressive from the first ball. Head tried to sneak an over of offspin upfront and the pair took 13 from it. It allowed them to absorb two good overs from the Strikers’ main weapons in Rashid Khan and Billy Stanlake, before launching into Michael Neser and Ben Laughlin to end the Powerplay at 51 without loss.
The talent has always been there for Short. His ball-striking has been as pure as any player in Australia since he first played domestic cricket in 2011. But for many years, he lacked the craft of controlled hitting and picking his moments. He walloped four fours and a six in the Powerplay against the Strikers, but then did not score a boundary till the 11th over.
He struck his second six in the 11th over from Neser but it came sandwiched between two well-placed twos. He seemed destined for a hundred, but his first real mis-hit on 96 was held at backward point.
An unlikely strike duo
Clive Rose opened the bowling with Archer and they proved a lethal combination. The raw pace and steep bounce of Archer accounted for Strikers’ leading scorer Alex Carey. The deceptive drop of Rose’s left-arm orthodox saw Jake Weatherald get too far underneath a lofted on-drive. The game appeared over at 2 for 24 after five overs. Cameron Boyce entered the attack and squeezed further to leave the Strikers requiring 132 runs from the final 11 overs.
Ingram was one of the Strikers key recruits after the departure of experienced duo Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge. Ingram has hit 24 fifties in 156 T20s and strikes at 135. But he had gone nine innings across the Ram Slam and the BBL without passing 50, and had struggled in his first three outings for the Strikers. He turned to a trusted four-year-old bat for some confidence and he launched back-to-back sixes in the 10th over off Simon Milenko. He also showed his touch with a scoop and a reverse sweep for consecutive boundaries off Rose.
Ingram and Head clubbed four fours and five sixes in four overs before Bailey turned to Archer again. He forced a leading edge from Head with a high full toss, and conceded just six runs to lift the required rate back above 11. Ingram held the key and it was Archer again, this time in the field. Ingram struck a pull shot to deep midwicket off Tymal Mills. Archer caught the ball and threw it to Short before he stepped over the rope to complete an outstanding catch.
Archer nailed two yorkers to start the last over, one hit Jake Lehmann flush on the toe in front of leg stump, the other zipped through to Wade who produced a direct hit as Wells tried to pinch a bye. Archer conceded just six runs in the over when he had 12 to play with and finished with staggering figures of 3 for 15 from his four overs.